Thursday, September 5, 2019

Such A Perfect Day - I'm glad I spent it with books

Since feeding animals in the zoo is the job of trained zookeepers these days, thankfully.

By Catriona

"Where do you normally read? In bed? A favorite chair? Listen to audio when commuting?"

My ideal reading day goes like this:

Wake up at six-ish. Get coffee (either by stretching out my hand to the thermos pot of coffee on my bedside table or by stumbling out of bed and staggering to the kitchen, like Dolly said, and making my own).

Read a novel in bed until seven. It's amazing how regularly this bit of my daily routine surprises, or even shocks, people. I never knew there was a rule that you can only read the newspaper or letters in the morning. Did you? Apparently there is.

Go to the gym. I don't listen to books on the elliptical or treadmill. I listen to . . .

Monday: The News Quiz (or other substandard Friday night comedy when NQ is off).
Tuesday: The Archers Omnibus (Tum-te-tum-te-tum-te-tum. Tum-te-tum-te-TAH-DAH . . .)
Wednesday: The Food Programme (masochist)
Thursday: Books and Authors + Gardener's Question Time (with presenters including Bob Flowerdew and Pippa Greenwood, honest.)
Friday: Loose Ends.

I know that's got a whiff of incontinent hankering for the old country, amounting to a rejection of my new home but outside the gym I'm glued to NPR, honest.

Work from nine till five twelve. (Pipe down, Dolly!)

Make lunch. Read the novel while I eat it.

Post Office, email, washing, etc.

Work from from two till five.

Make dinner, eat dinner, wash dishes.

Read from seven till nine in my dumpster-dived toile de jouy recliner in the livingroom, or in my estate-sale lounger on the porch, depending on weather and mosquito activity. It'll be the novel if I'm lucky, but it might be research for work, if I'm - let's face it - still pretty lucky.

Go to bed and read the novel till I drop it.

Listen to a chapter of an audiobook while drifting off.

Bliss, right? It doesn't always work. Sometimes it goes like this: wake at six, check email, discover crisis in the UK (eight hours ahead) that I need to deal with before everyone in London goes home. Drink coffee. Spot more emails while sending crisis solution. Deal with them. Stomach rumbles. Need to eat before the gym. Panic at how late it is. Work for an hour. Panic at how badly work's going. Cancel gym. Get dressed. Work some more. Panic. Go out to buy lunch (quicker). Pass by gym. Feel rubbish. Buy hopelessly unhealthy lunch. Eat at desk. Work and burp till six. Tell returning beloved that there's no dinner. Panic out loud till seven. Eat hopelessly unhealthy cobbled-together dinner. Work till ten. Go to bed and read. Realise a. I should have done that at six am b. it wasn't a crisis c. I'm an idiot.

Last Summer's RSRO Books
That's everyday reading. There are Special Reading Occasions too, both regular (holiday-based) and extraordinary (author-based). Extraordinary Special Reading Occasions (ESROs) are days when a new Stephen King comes out or (like right now) when the sequel to The Handmaid's Tale is about to appear. I will drop everything and read it immediately.

My second favourite Regular Special Reading Occasion is in the summer on a beach for two weeks, reading till I'm hot, swimming till I'm tired, repeating till it's dark. That doesn't happen every year but ohhhhh when it does. (One time in Rhode Island we found out on the last day that some other beach users had dubbed us "The Book People" and had got a good measure of harmless enjoyment out of laying bets on how long we could read without talking to each other. But then they were newlyweds.)

My absolute tip-top favourite RSRO,though, is at Christmastime, where for two weeks I do a spot of gardening or walking in the morning (after reading in bed), then light a fire and read on the couch until bedtime. It's total luxury and I know exactly how lucky I am to get to do it. I'm starting to curate the book pile for this Christmas already. Won't be long now . . .


Paul D. Marks said...

Catriona, I suppose there's a lot worse things one can be called than the Book People ;-) . And your "It doesn't always work," day sounds more like mine. But somehow we muddle through.

Ann said...

I'm so relieved at the second part of this essay. Thinking you were uber-disciplined was practically a deal breaker. But mostly I am impressed by how much you get done in a day, whether or not you follow the ideal schedule. Love from your favorite stalker.

Susan C Shea said...

Me too - the alternative is so much more like my own days. I am afraid I spend more time online, but I'm reading two major newspapers - and fuming - most of that time. I'm learning how to ration FB and have all but abandoned twitter and decided not to venture into Instagram for fear of running into a Kardashion. I also have cats.